The process of onboarding employees is well known as an important part of good HR practice. But the concept of offboarding is not talked about as often. Perhaps this is natural, as many business owners and HR professionals might not see a reason to put focus on an employee when they are going to leave the company. However, good offboarding is a vital step, and it can actually be an enormous benefit to your business.
Offboarding can play an important role in many areas of your business, from HR law compliance to cybersecurity, and even team morale. Despite this, 71% of businesses have no formal offboarding process in place.
If your company is in the same position, you may not yet understand exactly why having an offboarding checklist could be beneficial. Here we take a look at some of the advantages of good offboarding practice, and what it can do for your organization.
1. Learn more about your business
Many businesses fail to see the impact that offboarding has on their business, preferring instead to believe that it is just something they need to tick off as a legal requirement. However, when you consider the value that comes from knowing what your employees think about working for your company, and what could be improved, it becomes clear that offboarding is an opportunity for growth in your business.
If you don’t have an offboarding process in place then you are missing out on an opportunity to gather extremely valuable information about your business. The simple fact is that when employees come to leave a business they are able to be completely honest and open about working for the company, in a way that might not always be possible when they are employed.
Don’t think of this as a negative. This feedback – good or bad – can provide absolutely vital insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the business and help you to grow. If there is criticism about any aspect of the business, this should not be taken personally. It is just a fact that there may be some things that could be improved.
As an employee leaves, they should have a chance to provide this information so that you can learn from their knowledge. In fact, when people leave a role they generally leave with fewer restrictions on what they are able to say.
2. Ensure no singular skills are lost
In most cases, there is some kind of exit interview that companies do with employees who were fired or who are leaving in order to find out what went wrong and to learn from the experience. However, offboarding shouldn’t stop there.
It is easy for things to slip between the cracks, especially when it comes to people leaving. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where an employee leaves the company, and next week you discover that they were the only person able to perform a particular function at the business. It is undoubtedly the case that many employees bring certain things to a role that may not be immediately obvious, or be listed in their job description.
As a part of good offboarding, you should go through the role with the employee and find out if there are elements of their job that only they do or pieces of information that only they have access to. In this case, to better manage the departure of employees, it is important to transfer the knowledge so that the company is able to maintain business as usual.
The best way to do this is by ensuring that everyone in your organization identifies, documents, and stores any knowledge (processes or people) that are critical to the success of your business. You can take things a step further and actually document how each employee interacts with other staff so you know who every individual works cross-functionally with, and their responsibilities within those interactions
3. Mitigating the cybersecurity risk
Businesses must now deal with an ever-changing and ever-growing array of threats. It is not possible for an organization to fully mitigate cyber threats — there is always a chance an attack will succeed. However, with the right processes in place, companies have been able to significantly reduce the costs and risks associated with cyber incidents.
No one wants to believe that former employees would ever do anything to harm their previous place of work, but it is a major and growing problem. A simple step in ensuring that all employee logins, credentials, and privileges are removed as soon as possible after the employee leaves the business is essential. Ideally, this should be done on the day of the employee leaving.
“Disgruntled former employees that steal intellectual property or commit intentional sabotage are among the costliest threats to organizations,” says Simon Monahan, Product Marketing Director at Redscan “information at risk of being compromised by insider threats could include personal information relating to employees and customers, intellectual property, financial records, and details about company security controls”.
Former employees that still have access to their accounts functionally have a way into data and information that no one outside the organization should have access to. This is something that a good offboarding procedure completely eliminates.
4. End things in a positive way
Offboarding gives you the chance to ensure that the employee leaves on a positive note, with them feeling good about the organization that they are leaving behind, and having the possibility that they could return, or remain on good terms with the company.
Offboarding may be a bit different for every organization. However, there is an ultimate goal that every organization wishes to achieve when they are conducting their offboarding strategy: they want the employee leaving to feel as good about the company as when he or she started, if not better. That being sad, onboarding an employee must show respect for a person.
Without this step in the process, a former employee can end up seeing the company in a negative light for not appreciating their work.
Having a proper offboarding policy in place can not only limit problems from employees leaving, but it can make everyone involved feel better about the concept. Other employees see that those leaving are treating with respect, and get the send-off they deserve. The former employee feels that they have been appreciated where they work, and think about the company in a positive light.
Employee offboarding is something that everyone in the organization should be aware of, but it’s also an area of HR that is frequently misunderstood. Even small changes or tweaks to your process can make a huge difference. By making sure that you have the proper HR offboarding procedure in place, you’ll ensure that your talent costs are lower, that you maintain secure access to company resources and information, and that you can get back to focusing on growing your business as opposed to managing employees who are leaving.